Zach LaVine scores 44 as Bulls beat Cavs

CLEVELAND (AP) — Zach LaVine fell just short of a perfect night yesterday.

LaVine scored 44 points and the Chicago Bulls defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-106. The six-foot-five guard also finished with 10 rebounds and eight assists, barely missing his first career triple-double.

“I haven’t had one before, so when it got to the last two minutes, I was thinking maybe I could get those two assists,” LaVine said. “It’s all right. I’ll get one eventually.”

LaVine did everything else. He made 16 of 30 shots and had 27 points at halftime. LaVine drove past his defender for clear looks at the basket, scored when he was double-teamed in the lane, hit five three-pointers and was seven of eight from the line.

“Zach LaVine was just unbelievable — driving, shooting, making back-door cuts — he did it in every way,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said.

Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine drives against Cleveland Cavaliers’ Cedi Osman. PHOTO: AP

LaVine scored 42 points on January 20, including 21 in the fourth quarter when the Bulls rallied from a 15-point deficit to win. Cleveland, which has lost seven straight and 12 of 14, had no better success stopping LaVine this time.

“We’ve tried everything now,” Cavaliers coach John Beilein said. “He challenges people. None of it’s worked against LaVine.”

LaVine scored a career-high 49 points against Charlotte on November 23, a total he had a good chance to surpass for most of the game.

“I wanted to come out more aggressive tonight,” he said. “When you get a team on their heels, you can pick up the (offensive) pressure even more.”

LaVine was held to 16 points when the Cavaliers beat the Bulls in Cleveland on October 30. The teams play for the fourth and final time this season in Chicago on March 10.

Tomas Satoransky had 19 points for the Bulls, who were coming off a home loss to Sacramento last Friday.